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Subject: Ardennes Part 1: Chalk one up for the Luftwaffe rss

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Eric Grutz
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After a few months of trying new games, my friend Peter and I decided to pull out Memoir ‘44 and give it a go. It has been awhile since we’ve played this one, but we both felt a little burnt out from all the new games we’ve been trying. Honestly, we didn’t want to learn anything new for awhile.

The Challenge
While looking through the scenarios, Peter pulled out the “Rules for a Campaign” that came with the Winter/Desert board and asked if I wanted to try it out. I don’t know if it was up for it. I’ve read online, both here at BGG and from the Days of Wonder site, from a lot of people that the “Campaign” system isn’t that much fun. Instead, I suggested that we choose a side, stick with them, and then play out the five official Ardennes scenarios. At the end, we would total up all the medals won and declare a winner. The five scenarios would be the following: Twin Villages, St. Vith, Bastogne Corridor West, Bastogne Corridor East, and Relief of ‘Peiper’. Being a swell guy, I let Peter choose his side. As always, he chose the Germans. I took my Allied pieces and we pulled out the “Twin Villages” scenario.

Report from the Ardennes-Twin Villages

My Basic American Strategy

As the Allies, I wanted to use my main advantage the best I could: my artillery. I basically wanted to play defensive. I would try to get my units into the all the towns, sit back and wait for the Germans to emerge into the open. I would then fire away with my tanks and continue to shell them with the artillery when I could.

Peter’s Basic German Strategy
Pete said that he wanted to quickly mobilize his all armor units, move them out from behind the trees, and fight primarily with those. He said that he quickly wanted to attack and eliminate the forward American units near the Schwarzenbruch Trail and Lausdell Crossroads. He then would try to keep his infantry out of range from my artillery and go after those last three medals with the tanks.

How it Played Out
(Don’t read this if you want to see how experts play. This is far from it)
AXIS: Infantry Assault (Allied Ambush): Ambush eliminates two infantry. Axis attack eliminates 3 Allied Inf.
ALLIES: Recon in Force: Counter attack brings the armor in and forces a retreat and a third inf loss.
AXIS: Behind Enemy Lines: With a German inf unit almost gone, Peter sacrifices it to at least take out my Allied inf. He succeeds and then runs away with the one inf unit. The Allied inf by Schwarzenbruch is gone
ALLIES: Probe Center-Lausdell Crossroads inf drops back to Krinkekt and the armor drops back also.
AXIS: Recon Center- clears out an inf unit for the tanks to be free.
ALLIES: Recon Center-Artillery nailed that one inf unit that was used in the Axis Behind Enemy Lines. One German unit gone.
AXIS: Probe Right-brings two armor into the Schwarzenbruch Trail.
ALLIES: Probe Center-artillery misses
AXIS: Pincer-moves up the tanks
ALLIES: Recon Left-moves unit into town
AXIS: Probe Center- moves inf units to free other armor (wow, Probe Center cards were coming out fast).
ALLIES: Attack Center- hits with artillery and moves up units into Rocherath.
AXIS: Armor Assault- Attacks the unit in the right side town. Three hits and another hit on the unit in Krinkekt.
ALLIES: Firefight- all misses (horrible rolls) and a retreat.
AXIS: General Advance- Takes out the inf unit in the town on right flank and another from behind Kinkekt.
ALLIES: Direct from HQ-all units fire on an armor unit near Krinkekt. Destroyed
AXIS: Counter Attack-Attacks unit in Krinkekt
ALLIES: Attack- Eliminates a second armor unit
AXIS-Probe Center-Tanks force a retreat from an Allied Inf to leave the town, and is eventually wiped out by another German armor unit. In the overrun, the armor hits one artillery.
ALLIES: Assault Center-Eliminates another German armor unit
AXIS: Recon in Force- With his last forward armor, he shoots at an inf unit. Allied inf unit is down to one.
ALLIES: Recon in Force-Eliminates two of the forward Axis armor.
AXIS: Assault Right- gets the hit on one-inf unit.
ALLIES: Probe Right-Eliminates the one tank unit. All forward Axis units are gone.
AXIS: Recon Left- Hits sandbagged unit with last armor unit
ALLIES: Probe Left- Hits two of the armor.
AXIS: Assault Left- Runs with away with his last armor unit back to the woods and out of artillery range.
ALLIES: Probe Right- Tank into town (had no cards to go after that armor unit)
AXIS: Air Power- Peter decides to give it a go and take a shot at my one artillery unit. And the Luftwaffe came up big for him. He rolled a star and eliminated the artillery. F

Despite Peter’s win for the scenario, I wasn’t too disappointed in the result. According to the online stats, the Axis win this scenario with a ratio of 2:1. So to come out of “Twin Villages” with five medals is something I will take. In retrospect, I pretty much don’t know how I would have played it differently. Peter came at me (perhaps a little too aggressively) and I just had to counter attack him all the time with the units that were under fire. But with another scenario coming up where the Allies have a 3:1 win ratio, I feel that I’m sitting pretty good.

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